Last week I went on my final Christmas shopping trip to the actual shops. It’s an annual thing for my mum and I to go to the Intu Trafford Centre together to go and see all the lights and festive windows and decorations.
We often eat out at Wagamama and I’ve written about before so was delighted when they asked me to come along and try their new delicious dishes, some amazing sounding steam bun based side dishes.
Steamed Buns at Wagamama
They are called ‘Hirata Buns’ which are a popular Asian street food. Wagamama has seen an increase in demand for the steamed bun side and so to change things up a bit there are now four different steamed buns to try. The two that we picked were mixed mushroom and aubergine as well as tori kara age and fresh tomato. The first were described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.
They were nice and I would have them again but by far my favourite were the other ones. Those we described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with tori kara age and fresh tomato. Served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.
I love the freshness of the tomato with the tori kara age, it seemed to go well together. The sweetness of the steamed buns was also a perfect combination. I would warn you though that they are filling so if I had them again I’d combine it with a different side for variety. Although thankfully on this occasion the boys weren’t with us or I’d would of probably not got a look in. I think they would love the steamed bun range!
No trip to Wagamama for me would be complete without a classic Yaki Udon. It is my absolute favourite item on the Wagamama menu. So tasty and filling and alway freshly prepared.
Alongside the food I usually choose a fresh juice. This trip I asked the waiter for his recommendation and he suggested a positive juice. Which was pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. He was right it was delicious!
As always we came away feeling satisfied and knowing we’d eaten great food freshly prepared to order. If you’re looking for somewhere to share a family meal over the festive season then I’d suggest you find a Wagamama. I can’t imagine it will be long before we go back again. We really enjoyed the steamed buns and some lovely fresh food.
Thanks to Wagamama for inviting us to try the new ranges.
If you’ve ever dreamed of an indoor Christmas themed fun park then look no further than Winter Wonderland at Eventcity. Event city is next door to the Trafford Centre. There are rides, shows and fun galore to be had when you walk through the doors of this very special Christmas treat!
Last year we had so much fun the boys didn’t want to leave and we can’t wait to go again! In addition to the rides there are bouncy castles and slides a plenty.
Winter Wonderland 2016 runs from 10th December 2016 to 1st January 2017. It is all indoors at Eventcity right next to the Trafford Centre. With loads of free parking available you’re sure to have a fab time. Each session lasts 4 hours and includes all rides. Also the Basil Brush Show, the Cinderella Mini Panto, the Christmas Circus and a Meet & Greet with the big man himself! Of course the sessions after the 24th December don’t include Santa as he’ll be off having a very well deserved rest!
New shows for 2016
As well as the rides, there will be a dazzling array of colourful shows. Including an exciting new addition for 2016 – Christmas pantomime – Cinderella! There will also be a brand-new Sci-Fi show, a Christmas circus, Pip Ahoy! from Channel 5’s Milkshake and a chance to meet the nation’s favourite fox – Basil Brush! Santa Claus is inviting all the children to come and visit him! Children will be enchanted by the Ice Princesses, Fairies and Elves who love to play and chat and have ‘s-elfies’ with the children.
There will also be a whole host of games stalls and a vast array of food and drinks stalls to purchase.R Refreshments including hot snacks and sweet treats.
We have been kindly offered a family ticket to give away for Winter Wonderland for use on the evening of December 12th – this session starts at 6:30pm.
As part of a year long celebration of Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday Tatton Park is rounding off the celebrations and saving the best until last with it’s Christmas spectacular! To help get the celebrations off to a great start we are giving away one family ticket to Tatton Park which admits two adults and up to 3 children. See the bottom of the post for entry details.
This festive season, experience Christmas in the most magical way as Tatton Park’s Mansion takes inspiration from Roald Dahl’s greatest stories. For a limited time only from Monday 21 November, enter a festive world where his extraordinary story telling weaves itself through the grand staterooms and in to the bustling servants’ quarters.
As part of a year-long programme of events to celebrate 100 years since the beloved author’s birth, visitors will be able to access over 13 different rooms in the Mansion – with each room being inspired by a different Roald Dahl tale.
Step inside the grand entrance and enter the purple and gold-coloured world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Inside the yellow drawing room, The Witches take over – with a large bubbling cauldron and a broomstick tree. Listen out and you might hear a very special witches themed Christmas carol.
Mr Fox and all of his woodland friends are feasting in the dining room – expect a Christmas dinner scene like no other! Visitors can accompany The BFG as he visits Buckingham Palace in the drawing and music rooms – and meet bookworm Matilda in the library (and watch out for the dreaded Chokey in the Housekeeper’s room).
The Twits, Danny The Champion of the World and George’s Marvellous Medicine also have their own special areas – and woven throughout the Mansion is ‘Ode to Mother Christmas,’ a poem composed by Dahl in 1988 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Visitors can also enjoy the Roald Dahl Biography and front covers from around the world displays in the exhibition room, live festive music and family activities. Tatton staff inspired by Roald Dahl’s Mother Christmas will be on hand to give out treats and delicacies including a festive treat for all to try.
Tatton is working with three different design agencies, Springbank, Joseph Massie and Flyby to create this magical transformation.
Carolyn Latham, Tatton Park Mansion and Collections Manager, says: “We’re so very excited about this year’s Christmas attraction. The Roald Dahl theme has given us so much to explore and we were spoilt for choice when it came to selecting the scenes.
“From the Mr Fox family seated around a table enjoying the Christmas feast to an oversized BFG wearing a Christmas hat and slippers (which visitors can walk underneath), it will be an adventure of discovery with plenty of surprises around the corner.”
The Christmas Mansion will be open from 11am until 4pm (last entry 3pm) on the following dates:
Monday 21 November – Sunday 4 December
Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December
Friday 16 – Sunday 18 December
Tickets for the Christmas are priced at £9.50 for adults and £5.50 for children (exclusive of car entry, priced at £6). Price also applies to NT members.
For more information visit, www.tattonpark.org.uk/Christmas
More Festive Fun at Tatton Park
In addition to Roald Dahl’s Gloriumptious Mansion, there are lots of other festive goings-on for all the family at Tatton Park:
On Friday 25 November a charming lantern parade will make its way through the park to welcome Father Christmas as he arrives at Tatton Park with his elves. Visitors can buy a lovely lantern on the night or bring their own, to guide Father Christmas, his reindeer and sleigh. The shops and restaurants will be open to guests and children can post their Christmas lists in a special post box. Free car entry after 5pm. Lantern Parade at 6.30pm
Father Christmas at the Farm
Father Christmas and his reindeer will be spending weekends down at the Farm with all his farmyard friends. You will get chance to meet two of his real reindeers Prancer and Dancer who are in training ready for the big night on Christmas Eve. There is a real nativity with resident donkeys Frosty and Huw, live music and Christmas storytelling each day. There is also Aunty Mary by the fireside in the cottage making salt dough decorations for you to take home. There will be children’s entertainers, face painting and not forgetting the hugely popular Reindeer trail, so join us for all the festive fun on the Farm.
All children will receive a gift from Santa to take home.
Father Christmas at the farm is open from 11am until 4pm ( last entry 3pm) on Nov 26 & 27, Dec, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18. Adult and child tickets £6 (including your gift), car entry £6. Price also applies to NT members.
The festive Stableyard will be welcoming Kind Edward’s Musical Society and Choir on Sunday 18 December at 3pm. Guests are invited to sing their favourite carols with friends and family and enjoy warming winter treats in the restaurant.
Christmas Shopping Weekend
For those in search of a Christmas market, a wide range of artisan suppliers offering special gifts, stocking fillers and festive essentials, will be onsite on Friday 25 November (11.30am until 6pm), Saturday 26, and Sunday 27 November (10am until 4pm). Free admission in the Tenant’s Hall.
The Stables restaurant and the Gardener’s Cottage will be calling in the best locally sourced ingredients, including products reared at Tatton Park, to bring a fine selection of homemade festive food and drink. Pre-booking is recommended and can be done via email@example.com. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions:
The prize is one family ticket admission to Tatton Park including admission to the mansion, farm and gardens. The ticket covers two adults and up to three children. There is no cash alternative.
Tonight it’s Halloween and to some children this only means one thing -Trick or Treat!
When I was a child we weren’t allowed to go knocking on doors for Halloween to ‘Trick or Treat’. There was one year when I was very young (around 5) that my mum held a Halloween party for my brother and I and some of our friends (and parents). I remember that one year we were allowed to go to the neighbours on each side to say ‘Trick or Treat’ as my mum had already given them sweets to give to us. All other years though it was a no.
Each year during my childhood I would dread Halloween, more specifically I’d dread anyone knocking on to our house to Trick or Treat because my dad would get in a bad mood . He hated it, he just doesn’t agree with it. My mum would try and make it nice for us by making a lovely dinner of witches brew (which was soup and bread) Consequently when I got my own home, hubby and I would always avoid Halloween by going out for dinner or to the cinema. I didn’t like the thought of horrible children knocking on to disturb us. Asking essentially for us to give them something. I couldn’t understand people who liked Halloween and who looked forward to Trick or Treat children to come round.
Changing my View
Over the years as I have grown up Halloween has become much more of a thing. More people decorate their homes, and enjoy the night. Children seem more enthusiastic about it, and enjoy celebrating.For them it’s exciting. I’ve also been very lucky to celebrate Halloween in Walt Disney World a couple of times. Over in America, essentially Halloween is fun for most people. People make an effort to take part and enjoy the night itself.
Since having children things have changed. I’ve had to stay at home for Halloween. No late night trips to the cinema! Or staying out at the pub having a relaxing meal with a glass of wine (I don’t think I’d done that in a long time!) I’ve discovered that it can be fun. When the doorbell goes the our boys go out to see who’s there, we have a bowl of sweets ready and waiting to offer the Trick or Treaters. We admire the costumes and offer out a treat to each person. Thankfully although I know it can happen we have never had a bad experience. Everyone who has ever knocked on the door has been pleasant and polite.
Trick or Treat Rules
Last year and the year before we took the boys out ourselves to Trick or Treat but we ALWAYS stick to these rules:
Only go to houses with Halloween decorations up. Either full decorations which can be seen or an indication they are taking part in Halloween i.e. a pumpkin. I never let the children go to houses with nothing out.
Only knock or ring once, if no one answers then we move on.
Be polite. We say Trick or Treat and see what happens, if offered a treat then the children must say Thank you. If the thank you’s stop then we go straight home!
The children stay within sight of a grown up at all times. I let them go up a path whilst I wait at the bottom but they must always stay with me.
Always respect other peoples property. We only use the paths to get to a door and never walk over a garden to get in or out.
Go out dressed up in costumes not just a token effort, after all it is a tradition to dress up!
If everyone stuck to these rules then the night could be made fun for those who want to take part. For those who don’t or are scared then the night would no longer be a worry. Only going to decorated houses is the main rule for my boys. If a house has decorations up then I’d say they are taking part and are happy to have Trick or Treaters at the door.
Taking Part – Having Fun
I know this time of year can be worrying or frightening or annoying for many people and I want to let them know that we for one won’t be bothering them tonight by knocking on their doors. I hope this reassures them too that not all Trick or Treaters are a nuisance and the night can be fun for some people who want to take part.
This week I’ve looked through the photographs I’ve taken and it took a while to chose. It’s been half term here and it hasn’t exactly gone to plan. My youngest son (2) has been ill all week. So all the things I had planned for myself and the eldest (5) to do together as a treat while youngest was at nursery had to either be cancelled or replanned. Thanks to family and hubby we have managed to juggle childcare. Although I did have to take carers leave form work on Wednesday (which I felt so bad about since it was my only day in this week)
On Friday we booked to go to the local leisure centre and have a go at climbing. The leisure centre has recently been refurbished. It has new added feature such as the climbing walls, a BMX park and a soft play area. This is the first time we’ve been climbing here and the boys first time ever trying climbing. The session runs for an hour and you just pick and chose which walls to try, the instructor clips you on and away you go. When you’ve finished the wall you just let go and walk back down whilst the automatic harness does the trick of taking your weight. I absolutely loved it! Although my arms are aching really badly today, with muscle I never even knew I had!
As well as the walls there is a set of poles that reach 5m in height to climb up and jump off. I love that childrens fear gauges are on a different level to ours. The boy had no trouble in doing this several times! I go to 2m and couldn’t go any further (I am 1.85m tall so honestly that seems wimpish!) Looking back now though I want to go back and try again. I won’t let a set of poles beat me!
This week we were kindly sent a new toy for the boys to test. For those of you who have read my posts before you’ll know I don’t believe in gender specific toys. Belles tea party cart could potentially fall into the toys for girls category but I think my boys have proved that to be wrong!
This summer we were very lucky to spend time at Walt Disney World. In the run up to our holiday we watched lots of family Disney films. Since Flixster has been little he’s had the nickname chip (given to him by the nursery ladies who said he was cute!) They have never seen his menacing side he he! But he knows who chip is, and he knows the famous song from Beauty and the Beast – Be Our Guest. We were also lucky enough to eat in the beasts castle dining room whilst we were away. So the boys are very familiar with Belle, Mrs Potts and Chip.
The Toy – A Tour
The cart comes boxed and not built however it is really easy to put together, you don’t need any tools, it simply clicks into place. If this is to be a Christmas gift it might be worth setting up first then wrapping as there are some cable ties that need cutting in the package and I know how frustrating it can be on Christmas day to be doing these. In addition to the trolley, Belles Tea Party Cart comes with two teacups (one of which is Chip) Mrs Potts ( the teapot), two spoons and an invitation.
The teapot and teacups fit onto the inner pink circle on the top of the cart. Flixster was obsessed about putting the teapot, cups and spoon on the bottom level of the trolley. I have no idea why, but as you’ll see in most of the photos I took during play those items are on the bottom!
Once we’d put it together the boys were away with it. Especially Flixster (who’s 2) he absolutely loved it. Most of all he loved that when you press the button on the front of the cart the teapot and teacups spin round whilst the ‘Be Our Guest Song’ plays. As a result of him discovering this we have heard it many many times since! I think the song being played whilst the teapot spins was his favourite feature of Belles Tea Cart. The cart comes with batteries already installed. Be sure to flick the switch underneath to play the full song not just the demo.
The tea cart was just the right height for him to push around the room and serve everyone tea. The detail on Belles Tea Party Cart is most noteworthy. The stickers which come already attached to the cart (thank goodness as I can never ever get them straight) picture the characters from Beauty and the Beast.
Toy Test Verdict
We’ve had the cart a little over a week now and it’s been played with every day by Flixster. He absolutely loves it! I’d say this toy test was an absolute hit. I’ve enjoyed watching him use the cart and his imagination to serve tea many times over. He loved pretending to drink and serve everyone else.
(See the teapot and cups underneath!)
He ever wanted to take chip to bed the other night, I’m not sure he’d make a good cuddle companion though!
Belles Tea Party Cart can be purchased from a variety of retailers in the UK and would make a fabulous gift for any Beauty and the Beast fan.
This week I’ve chosen a photograph that means a lot to us. During the past year its been tough but we’ve always focused on what we do have and not what we don’t and been grateful. With a massive house move, one we hoped and dreamed of for so long hanging on a knife edge then eventually happening (thank you universe) followed by a longer than expected period of redundancy its fair to say we’ve been though some quite stressful events. Before we moved one of our aims was to have a place in our new home to have a special Saturday breakfast together. The rest of the week we spend rushing around not eating as a family at breakfast because of work and other commitments. Yesterday we shared pastries (I know they are not very slimming world friendly but it was a treat!) and drank lovely coffee and had a simple family breakfast. It was bliss and I’m very grateful for the memory.
Yesterday we were invited to the opening show of the St Helens Pantomime at Theatre Royal for half term. This year its ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
The pantomime stars Cheryl Fergison (Eastenders) as the Wicked Witch of the West opposite Clair Simmo (Radio City 2) Glinda. The cast work very hard to bring the performance together cosequently the show is seamless as a result of everyones hard work. This St Helens pantomime runs from October 22nd to October 30th and the tickets start from just £10, which is a great price for a few hours of family style entertainment.
I took my eldest and his lovely friend from next door they are 5 and 4 years old.
The St Helens pantomime has all the elements any classic panto should do, booing and cheering, a black light section, corny jokes, a hilarious song. Finally a song where characters get taken away and of course a water blaster!
The boys were in stitches with laughter as a result of some of the slapstick comedy. All the characters were portrayed really well and Dorothy played by Charlotte Gallagher was excellent. We had a great time!
In conclusion if you’re looking for some good wholesome family fun this half term then head on down to St Helens and watch Wizard of Oz!
St Helens Pantomime this Christmas
However if you’re already busy this half term be sure to check out the Christmas Pantomime. Judging by previous years its going to be awesome. This Christmas its Aladdin with an all star cast staring the one and only Amy Childs (TOWIE) as Slave of the Ring. Harry Derbridge (TOWIE) will play the hilarious PC Noddle. It’s sure set to be a family event not to miss! Tickets are available to buy online or from the box office at the Theatre Royal St Helens.
This weekend inspired by the new Num Noms series, we were sent the Brunch Bunch and the Diner set to inspire a little weekend cook up. Daddy didn’t need asking twice to get into the kitchen as he loves cooking and couldn’t wait to get started making home made burgers with the boy! It’s an easy thing to do yet tastes lovely and always a hit in our house. If you haven’t seen Num Noms before they are small food items made to play with that all come with their own smell. You can stack them up and create your own scents combining your favourites.
500g Quality minced beef
2 Garlic Cloves
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Burger buns of your choosing (we like Brioche)
Salad for garnish – whatever you like, lettuce, tomato, pickles etc
Fried onions and mushrooms for topping
Sliced cheese to top the burger
Break up the mince in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Crush the garlic cloves and combine with the mince, making sure to stir it all round. With clean hands form the mince into rough burger shapes (we made 4) and then cook according to taste. Be sure to rewash hands after they are on the grill.
We always use an electric grill for cooking meats as it’s the healthy choice because the fat can run off. So while they were cooking the boy helped with the toppings.
Frying up the onions and mushroom topping
Once cooked add a slice of cheese to top the burger and leave on the grill for a further minute to melt. Then add your burger to a bun, top with the salad you like and enjoy! Easy peasy!